Member advice Helping our members understand behaviors, effects and first steps
Advice for members

Where do I begin?

When our members are facing abusive behaviors, we know firsthand that these behaviors create a lot of stress and anxiety. We've seen some successful tips shared with members - both by the EAP and by Dr. Gary Namie's WBI bullying website in dealing with a bullying environment. We'd like to share these with you.

If you've determined that the abusive behavior you are facing is bullying, here are some best practices learned over our last four years and shared with us by members who have lived it.

First steps graphic

Understanding abusive behavior

Many times the question is raised, "What is bullying?" We offer definitions of bullying from a number of sources, including MAPE, and identify commonalities between the definitions. We also identify which behaviors would not be considered bullying. The definitions shared from the Respectful Workplace Policy include the word bullying, and go beyond that to include definitions of disrespectful and unprofessional behaviors.


Currently there are no laws in Minnesota that clearly define workplace bullying. Click above for several definitions to consider.

Examples of bullying behaviors

This link (above) includes definitions of bullying as well as examples that are not bullying behaviors on their own, but may be accompanied by bullying behavior.

Health effects

In MAPE's work addressing hostile work environments, we have many times seen serious health effects on our members, resulting in time away from work, financial stress and personal distress. Aside from that, there are clear costs to employers resulting from this type of work environment.

Respectful Workplace Policy

On April 10, 2015, Minnesota Management & Budget (MMB) adopted the Respectful Workplace Policy. This policy applies to all state agencies and all state employees at every level. The policy does not define bullying per se, but includes the term “bullying” as a form of disrespectful and/or unprofessional behavior.

Disrespectful and/or unprofessional behavior

The Respectful Workplace Policy offers descriptions of disrespectful and/or unprofessional behavior. We've also included examples of retaliatory behaviors.

Protected classes under the law regarding discrimination

Under the laws enforced by EEOC, it is illegal to discriminate against someone because of that person’s race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy), national origin, age (40+), disability or genetic information. If you are facing this illegal discrimination, please contact the EEOC. The Respectful Workplace Policy excludes protected class status complaints.

What to do when a policy violation occurs

If you've experienced behavior that violates the Respectful Workplace Policy, there are four key actions to take.

Ways to document the behaviors

In order to prove unprofessional, disrespectful or bullying behavior, it is imperative to document and create a pattern log of that behavior. Management will need documentation to prove the behavior exists. MAPE offers you this form to help put the pieces together.

Complete MAPE's formal complaint

As a member utilizing The Respectful Workplace Policy you will see there's both an informal and a formal process for complaints. If what the member is experiencing has been defined as bullying, MAPE believes in using the formal complaint process. The policy itself features a sample form for such a complaint, but MAPE has engineered our own form for your use if you should choose.

Tips for writing a successful formal complaint

This is the first in a series of member videos produced by MAPE's Anti-Bullying Task Force to help members navigate the policy. Go here to watch the video:


Tips for filing a successful complaint

Workplace Bullying Institute

In April 2013, leadership from MAPE attended a seminar on workplace bullying put on by Gary Namie, PhD. The seminar opened our eyes to the reality of the harmful effects of bullying - both to employees and to the employer. Namie spoke to us about the ideal responses for unions. From that point on, we have learned many valuable lessons from Gary's Workplace Bullying Institute and continue learning. We are sharing the initial document received at the seminar, and encourage you to go to Namie's website for your own education.